Nutrition is one of the essential pillars of sound physical health and mental abilities. It is well said that ‘we are what we eat’. Protein is the most misunderstood nutrient with a lot of fallacies around it. It is considered as one of three major macronutrients that make up our diet (the other two being carbohydrates and fats).
India, being a country in developmental transition, faces the burden of protein-calorie undernutrition According to the latest survey with IPSOS (2018), a leading global market and opinion research firm, ”About 68 % people in India are protein deficient, while 71 % have poor muscle health”.
The findings suggest a correlation between poor muscle health and protein deficiency in India which needs to be addressed.
Another survey conducted the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) study in 2017, stated that 84% of Indian vegetarian and 65% of non-vegetarian diets are protein deficient. The surveys also conclude that people are not getting enough protein from their daily diets to maintain good muscle health.
In these situations, protein supplements become a very good resource to fulfil and replenish daily protein requirements.
Let’s dig in deep and assimilate existing knowledge to learn the potential benefits and disadvantages of protein supplementation.
ARE PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS GOOD FOR YOU?
For years, protein supplements have been solely consumed by bodybuilders and others indulged in heavy exercise. It might have once the sports supplement used to buff up muscles, but these days many health-conscious people are integrating protein shakes into their diet.
According to health care personals, additional protein in the form of powder does come with some proven benefits, even if you don’t hit the gym regularly. A large segment of the general population is using protein powder for meal replacement, weight reduction, and purported health benefit.
Protein supplements are also preferred over traditional sources of protein, because of less time for preparation, ease of availability and use. But these supplements also have varying pros and cons, which are often overlooked by the public.
Before, discussing the potential benefits of protein powder supplementation, we must know the amount of protein required by the body daily.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO WE NEED?
Dietary protein plays a key role in countless physiological processes in the body. The estimated average requirement for protein in adults was determined to be 0·66 g/kg/d and the safe requirement was determined to be 0·83 g/kg/d. However, the protein requirement varies from individual to individual; older adults or those recovering from surgery or illness might need more.
The dietary standards and recommendations for the Indian population have been discussed in Table 1. These recommendations are based on the new guidelines of the International Joint FAO/WHO/UNU Consultative Group and on the data accumulated after recommendations.
BENEFITS OF PROTEIN POWDER SUPPLEMENTATION
Protein powder is a commonly used nutritional supplement. It is an essential macronutrient that helps to build muscle, repair tissue, and make enzymes and hormones. Using protein powder may also aid weight loss and help people tone their muscles. The possible health benefits of protein powders include the following:
The protein-rich powder is more satiating than either fat or carbohydrates. It helps in maintaining fullness for a longer time. Feeling full results in smaller portion sizes and less frequent snacking, which helps in weight management or lose weight if necessary.
A review published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition stated that supplementing protein powder might reduce body weight and total fat mass in overweight and obese people. It also decreases blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Protein powder is also essential for muscle growth. It helps in building muscle tissue and muscle mass more quickly and efficiently. These supplements will help them bulk up after strength training.
Research indicates that protein supplements improve muscle size and strength in healthy adults performing resistance exercise training, such as lifting weights.
Recovery after exercise
Along with muscle growth, protein powder also helps in repairing damaged muscles and tissues. It is also used by the athletes to speed up recovery from muscle soreness after exercise. Studies reported that taking protein supplements after exercise can aid recovery by reducing muscle damage and improving muscle performance and muscle protein synthesis.
Provides added nutrition
People who find it challenging to meet the daily protein requirements from the diet may find protein powder as a healthy alternative. Athletes, weight lifters, older adults, and people with a chronic illness may need to exceed the general protein intake recommendation. Research shows that athletes with strenuous exercise training may benefit from having about twice the daily recommended intake of protein, ranging from 1.4 to 2.0 g per kg of body weight.
Boosts immune system
A protein powder taken on a daily basis can help to boost immune function. It is an ideal supplement to enhance the recovery from an illness or injury. It is also helpful in increasing the recovery of wounds or other ailments
Helps to maintain healthy skin
It has been determined that people deficient in protein often have skin that ages and sags faster than normal. A loss of muscle tone and sagging skin on legs and arms are also noticed. A diet higher in protein content, such as one that includes protein powder can help to prevent and reverse the signs of ageing. It can also help to repair the damage caused by ailments or a low protein diet.
Stimulates healthy hair and nail growth
Protein powder also helps in maintaining healthier hair and nails. Nails that split, break, tear or are brittle are often signs of a protein deficiency. A protein supplement can help to encourage healthy hair growth that is prone to damage and also beneficial in encouraging better nail growth, for those who notice that their nails do not grow quickly.
DISADVANTAGES OF PROTEIN POWDER SUPPLEMENTATION
Using protein supplements presents both risks as well as benefits. If you regularly exceed your daily protein requirements, you may increase the risk of various health issues such as nausea, cramps, fatigue, headaches and bloating. The various health risks associated with excess use of protein powder are as follow:
- Daily increment of 0.1 g protein/kg was associated with an increased risk for microalbuminuria, a predictor of renal and cardiovascular disease
- Consuming too much protein led to a marked acid load for the kidneys, thereby increasing the risk for stone formation and renal cell cancer
- Protein powder may also cause digestive problems and gastrointestinal discomfort in people with dairy allergies or trouble digesting lactose if they use a milk-based protein powder
- Consumption of low-carbohydrate–high-protein diets, significantly decreases estimated calcium balance, and thereby increased risk for bone loss
- A high-protein diet may precipitate the progression of coronary artery disease through increased lipid deposition and inflammatory and coagulation pathways
- Protein supplements containing whey have been found to increase the incidence of acne vulgaris in young adult users. It is because, whey protein especially whey protein concentrate, contains intact milk hormones, which can cause acne
- Excess intake of protein above the recommended amount may lead to obesity, especially if the person lives a sedentary lifestyle. The protein will broke down to release energy, intermediately stored as glycogen, and further stored in the body as fat
- Intake of impure proteins or protein contaminated with harmful additives may be life-threatening
- The purported health benefits of protein supplementation may lead to overuse by both adults and adolescents. Men and younger exercisers were found to overuse supplements associated with performance enhancement and muscle building
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF PROTEIN POWDER?
Before using protein powder, people should calculate their daily nutritional needs. Those who don’t get enough protein from their diet could consider supplementing with protein powders. The various considerations to keep in mind while using protein powder are as follow:
- Protein powder should be used in the morning as it gives a feeling of fullness and reduces appetite snacking. Another positive factor to having a protein powder in the morning is that it can support strength, muscle mass and prevents the body from going into a catabolic state. A catabolic state is caused by excessive training coupled with a lack of adequate nutrition, especially protein
- Protein intake before training offers more effective workouts. Proteins rich in branched amino acids helps to maintain higher glycogen stores, which in turn provides more energy. A pre-workout snack of a protein shake combined with complex carbohydrate can give the energy needed to go harder during workouts
- Protein intake after post-workout protein is often indicated for muscle growth and/or recovery
Eating a carbohydrate-rich, or drinking a protein shake immediately after training helps to optimise gain of muscle mass by increasing production of anabolic hormones (growth hormones), reducing protein breakdown and supplying amino acids for protein synthesis
- While using protein powder, be sure to add plenty of fluids to head off dehydration. Always read product labels and understand what you’re consuming
- Always look for protein powder containing soy or whey or casein or whatever mixtures it might be, but stay away from the extraneous ingredients. Whey protein is the most favourable supplement for those seeking to put on muscle and enhance their physiques as well as improve their health
- Look for good-quality products or well-established companies in the nutrition field, and use these in moderation
Regardless of your health goals, proteins should be regarded as a foundation nutrient of any nutrition program. It is certainly no secret that physically active persons in sports or those who train with weights will benefit from getting enough protein.
However, those who don’t bodybuild can also confer advantages from protein supplements. The only way to find out benefits from protein supplements is to use them.
So, give a try to protein supplement like Ezimass Protein Powder, supplemented with Docosahexaenoic acid and Whey protein. It is available at Dr BEST pharmaceuticals.
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